When you don't see 360° at 10pm ET tonight don't worry. We're coming to you live just an hour later. So we hope you'll stay up late with us.
We're following several developments on the campaign trail. The biggest headline: Barack Obama's shrinking lead. In the latest CNN poll of polls, Obama is ahead by just one point. If you're keeping tracking (and I'm betting you political junkies are) that's down from a 3-point lead yesterday and 8-points since last month. What do you think has fueled the decline? We'd love to hear your thoughts.
Also today it was revealed that Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman will speak at the GOP convention next month. FULL POST
Hope you’re enjoying the documentaries from John King and Suzanne Malveaux on McCain and Obama. They run until 11p and after that AC360° is LIVE until 12a.
Anderson is off tonight. John King is anchoring, live blogging and on our studio webcam. LINK TO THE BLOG CAMERA
And don’t forget to watch Erica’s webcast. LINK TO WEBCAST
We’ll start posting comments to this blog at 11p ET and stop at 12a ET.
David M. Reisner
AC360° Digital Producer
Nearly three years after Hurricane Katrina devastated their city, President Bush spoke to people in New Orleans today. Among his guests at the ceremony was Lieutenant General Russel L. Honoré, known best for serving as commander of ‘Joint Task Force Katrina.’ He was responsible for coordinating military relief efforts for Hurricane Katrina-affected areas across the Gulf Coast. Now retired, he spends much of his time in the region, and works to prepare families for future natural disasters.
I caught up with the general as he was traveling from his Georgia home to the ceremony this morning. Our conversation covered as much ground as the general did, and we will share with you parts of that conversation over the next several days, leading up to the 3rd Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. We started by talking about today’s event:
So where will the President be commemorating the 3rd anniversary of Katrina?
We're headed to ‘Jackson Barracks’, home of the Louisiana National Guard. Their equipment was stored there prior to Katrina, and unbeknownst to them, when the levees burst, it flooded the equipment. So the equipment the National Guard was depending on to help rescue people in New Orleans ended up 12 feet underwater.
Would this be your first time back to Jackson Barracks since Katrina?I was in Jackson barracks about 3 months ago. I went through for a tour. Many of the buildings were about 80% complete. So I imagine all those buildings are complete now, but it has taken that long, 3 years, with full resources. That’s how long it can take even when you are fully resourced to do a significant project. So when folks say ‘well, we don’t have all the schools back online or we have fire stations that are not completed...’ its going to take time to get a lot of this stuff done.
What are looking to hear from the President today?
Brian Conley, creator of the well-known videoblog, Alive in Baghdad, was detained with his friend, Jeffrey Rae, early Tuesday, August 19th in Beijing. Their detention appears to have taken place at the same time as that of international artist James Powderly, whose detention was reported Tuesday. Three other bloggers and activists, Jeff Goldin, Michael Liss, and Tom Grant, have also been missing since Tuesday morning. Conley, 28, Rae, 28, Goldin, 40, Liss, 35, Grant, 39 are all American citizens.
The five “citizen journalists” and activists were in Beijing to support and promote human rights, freedom of expression, and freedom for the Tibetan people. They and numerous others have acted as an independent media centre for the dozens of pro-Tibet activists in Beijing who have sought to draw attention to the Chinese government’s occupation of during the Olympics. Rae and Conley shot and released online high-resolution photographs and footage of the recent protest by Students for a Free Tibet supporters at the Chinese Ethnic Culture Park.
Nothing like some shock and awe to get the day going.
Before my coffee even finished brewing, I was jolted awake, courtesy of this tidbit: more than 200,000 children were spanked or paddled in US schools last year. That’s according to a joint report from Human Rights Watch and the ACLU.
My initial reaction? “You’ve got to be kidding me! Who would PADDLE a kid, especially in this day and age, and in a school?!” I think my lower lip hit my chin.
I can’t remember ever seeing a paddle in any of the schools I attended. I don’t recall ever seeing a classmate spanked, either. I do remember my Dad’s horror stories of the French teacher who would grind her spiked heel into the foot of her students, and the ruler slaps on “Little House,” but I thought that was all in the past.
Corporal punishment in schools isn’t legal where I grew up, but in 21 states, it is. Wow.
Here are a few more stories that made my mouse stop in its tracks: FULL POST
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Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama gets a flower as a gift at the Greensboro Farmer's Curb Market in Greensboro, N.C.
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AC360 Senior Producer
They both tried to take the high road…. or said they would, anyway.
John McCain once promised he wouldn’t engage in personal attacks on the campaign trail. But his attacks on Barack Obama, and not just on his policies, apparently have worked, contributing to Obama’s slip in national polls from a 9% lead to just 1% now, according to CNN’s poll of polls.
And now the Obama campaign has seen the light: not only does negative campaigning work; in presidential elections, recent history suggests it’s the way to win.
The Obama campaign has quietly launched attack ads in key local markets, while running positive ads nationally—and more visibly for the press. And after fretting among supporters that he has been too soft on McCain, Obama is now talking tougher on the stump.
We’ll look at this turn to the dark side by both candidates tonight.
We’ll also examine the McCain camp buzz about Lieberman, the Democrat. What’s that about?
And what do you think? Please let us know. Thanks.
Editor's note: The following is an open letter from Richard A. Viguerie, Chairman of ConservativeHQ.com, to Senator John McCain in response to news reports that he may select a pro-life vice presidential running mate. What are your thoughts?
Dear Senator McCain:
The buzz in recent days has been that some of your key aides were calling national and state GOP leaders to alert them to the possibility that you were seriously considering a pro-abortion running mate and to take their temperature on such a selection.
As Dan Henninger of the Wall Street Journal asked: Are you politically "stupid" or do you care little for conservative principles?
It also shows that you don't understand why the Republican brand has taken a massive beating in recent years. You clearly don't comprehend why millions of conservatives are off the Republican reservation and sitting on the political sidelines.
David Gergen | Bio
CNN Senior Political Analyst
Say what you will about Republicans making a muddle of governing, but they sure know how to campaign. The turn of events that John McCain and his team have engineered in recent weeks is one of the most significant events of the campaign and now poses a serious threat of an upset this fall.
In just a few short weeks, they have not only thrown Barack Obama on the defensive and made him seem smaller but they have also made McCain seem larger and more commanding. And it has not just been one event but a string of them that they have tied together to propel McCain upward - from the ads (which most of us in the media didn't like) to the way McCain seized upon the drilling and Russian issues to his winsome performance at Saddleback. The capacity to create issues and momentum practically out of the ether is the sign of a strong campaign. Both McCain and his team are impressing voters.
Editor's note: This open letter to Caroline Kennedy from Michael Moore appears on his website. What do you make of Moore's suggestions?
We've never met, so I hope you don't find this letter too presumptuous or inappropriate. As its contents involve the public's business, I am sending this to you via the public on the Internet. I knew your brother John. He was a great guy, and I know he would've had a ball during this thrilling and historic election year. We all miss him dearly.
Barack Obama selected you to head up his search for a vice presidential candidate. It appears we may be just days (hours?) away from learning who that choice will be.
The media is reporting that Senator Obama has narrowed his alternatives to three men: Joe Biden, Evan Bayh and Tim Kaine. They're all decent fellows, but they are far from the core of what the Obama campaign has been about: Change. Real change. Out with the old. And don't invade countries that pose no threat to us.